Rolling Stones – Still Rocking and Rolling at 50


The Rolling Stones are the oldest performing rock band in music history. They started out in London in 1962 and have been commercially successful for over fifty years. Of the original line-up three members are still in the band: lead singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards and drummer Charlie Watts. Ronnie Woods joined the band in 1975. Up to today, the Stones have sold more than 200 million albums.

The idea of founding a rock and roll band goes back to the schooldays of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In 1962 they performed at the Marquee Club in London for the first time. The music they played at that time was not rock and roll but rhythm and blues.

The Rolling Stones’ first US tour in June 1964 was not very successful, partly because they hadn’t had a hit record at that time.  The Beatles, formed at around the same time, were skyrocketing to success and landed one hit single after the other. While the Beatles had been gentleman-like, nice and always neatly dressed The Stones had been their counterparts, the bad boys, the Anti-Beatles, wearing longer hair and showing a more aggressive musical style.

International breakthrough came in 1965 with their number one hit Satisfaction. The Stones had their most successful time in Britain and the US during 1965 and 1966. In 1967 members of the Rolling Stones were accused of taking drugs. Guitarist Brian Jones could not stand the pressure of success and left the band in 1969. He committed suicide  , shortly afterwards.




The Stones originally played songs from famous rhythm and blues and rock musicians. Later on Jagger and Richards began writing their own songs. Hit songs include As Tears Go By, Paint it Black, Brown Sugar, Honky Tonk Women and many others.

By 1980s the members of the band started their own solo careers but occasionally still played together. In 1989 the Rolling Stones were honored in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the same year the Stones got together again for another album and world tour. Having reached middle age, the band proved that they could still rock. Thousands flocked to stadiums around the world to see their concerts. On stage they are still electrifying, especially the unique performance of lead singer Mick Jagger.

In 2008 Hollywood director Martin Scorsese, a dedicated Stones fan, turned one of their concerts into a documentary film, Shine a Light.

No rock band has played longer than the Rolling Stones. Today, at the musical age of 50, they are far from quitting and their fans appreciate it. They have recorded over 400 songs, made two dozen studio albums, and have gone on ten world tours.

While other rock bands have come and gone, the Stones have endured. Critics say that the Rolling Stones are not only clever businessmen but because they have always put the band before the individual.


Related Topics



  • accuse = to say that you believe someone has committed a crime
  • aggressive = angry, threatening
  • album = group of songs on a CD
  • appreciate = like, respect
  • breakthrough = something that brings you success for the first time
  • businessman = a person who knows how to be successful and make money
  • career = job
  • commercial = for profit, business
  • commit suicide = to kill yourself
  • counterpart = rival
  • dedicated = to be fanatical about; to be very fond of
  • director = a person who gives actors instructions in a film
  • electrifying = thrilling, to make you feel very excited
  • endure = to stay
  • especially = above all
  • flock = to come in great numbers
  • found = start
  • honor = to show publicly that your work is very good
  • include = contain, consist of
  • individual= here: the single band member
  • join = to become a member
  • line-up = people who are in the band
  • middle age = here: the age of about 40 – 50
  • neat = in an orderly way, nice
  • occasionally = sometimes, once in a while
  • original = at first
  • perform = act; play music
  • pressure = stress; the way of working that causes you to become nervous
  • quit = stop
  • rhythm and blues = type of popular music that started in the 1940s
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame = museum that is dedicated to the best rock and roll artists in history
  • skyrocket = to move up very quickly
  • successful = to achieve what you have wanted to